of a phrase formed by a very imminent american historian, lawrence levine, in which he talked about the unpredictable past. it's a great phrase. the unpredictable past. i found that the past of the amistad was extremely unpredictable, and so what aid like to share with you today are some of those surprises. what were the surprises of doing this kind of research? the first surprise -- and in some ways the biggest surprise and the one that made many subsequent surprises possible -- has to do with the sources. the quantity and the quality of evidence about these africans who made the revolt. now, i had spent 30 years studying sailors enslaved africans, pirates, poor people who left almost no documents of their own. so i was trained to do this kind of work. to try to write history from below. people who had been really left out of most of the historical narratives. but i must tell you that the body of evidence available about this case, i'm convinced, is the richest and the deepest of any i have ever seen about any group of enslaved rebels anywhere. it is a staggering body of evidence.